Sometimes I forget to appreciate Myself for all that I am and all that I do. I get caught up in a downward swirl of negative-self chatter. I feel like I’m always a step behind the rest, or struggling to keep up to life’s demands. I forget that I am here to design My own way. I forget that I am doing enough. I forget that I am enough without doing. I forget to see all that I AM, and instead I get caught in a web of all that I wish I was. This is why self-care is so valuable. Because it is within the space of truly being with yourself that you can reflect on the beauty that is you.
We put these unreasonable expectations upon ourselves that we wouldn’t do to our closest friend. So why do we do it to ourselves…aren’t we supposed to be our own best friend? It’s easier to fall into the trap of not feeling good enough, than it is to take the space you need to appreciate yourself. We are not taught to appreciate ourselves, we are taught that selfishness is “bad”. I believe that caring for yourself is a sign of amazing strength and resilience. Sometimes it means saying no to others. It doesn’t really matter if they understand, but it certainly helps when they do – or at least are empathic to your situation. Being Self-Loving doesn’t mean that you are out to be nasty to others. It doesn’t mean you get a free pass to not consider anyone else’s feelings. But it does mean that you set healthy boundaries for yourself and do your best to recognize your own needs.
Needs can be conflicting, and this is where things get tricky, friends. Especially in relationships. One person may need something and the other may need something entirely different. You may feel as if you are speaking a different language. The best thing to do in this situation is to have an open conversation about it, where you own your needs without blaming the other individual. This is much stickier than it sounds. And it’ll take a lot of practice (and probably relational or individual therapy). Sometimes it means taking space for yourself or spending some time apart. Perhaps there is a way where you can both have your needs met and you can agree on what that looks like together.
It is your responsibility to voice your needs to your partner/friends/family. People cannot read your mind, and sometimes we become upset because we expected someone else to know what we needed. We think it should be obvious to them, but it’s not. That’s why we have to speak up for ourselves. In a kind manner, preferably. You don’t have to be a bully to assert your needs, but you also don’t want to shrink into the background whilst attempting to appease everyone around you. There is a happy medium. You don’t want to be one of those super hard tennis ball avocados, but you also don’t want to be the overly ripe and squishy browned avocado that turns into a pile of mush on your plate. You want to maintain your beautiful colour, flavour and soft firmness with a slight creamy malleability. (Apparently I love using vegetables as metaphors)!
Nothing ever stays exactly the same. Your needs will evolve as you do. We all have certain non-negotiable needs such as food, water and sleep to survive. I believe we need Love to survive as well. We cannot thrive without it. Some areas of our lives will become more complex while other areas find more solid ground. Pieces to our giant puzzle of life are being put together – so try to enjoy building the puzzle. Chill for a minute. Take a breath. It’s ok. It’s gonna be ok. You’re gonna get to where you’re going, or you’re at least going to get somewhere. Maybe it’ll look different than what you thought, maybe once you get there you realize that you don’t actually want it anymore. Without change, we can’t have growth. But the good news is we are always changing. Even when you think things are the same or not progressing forwards – they are. We are constantly evolving, individually and collectively. Our pains of the past become less painful as our scars fade and soften with our renewing skin. Nothing will ever be exactly how it was before, but the beauty is that we get to CREATE a new way of how it is NOW. And this time we get to design it more consciously, so that our today is the primer for our tomorrow.